How To Stop Your Mac From Sleeping / Stop Screen Turning Off

While it can be handy to have your Mac sleep, or the screen turn off, after a set amount of time, there are certain situations where you don't want it to fall asleep by itself - Like when you're watching a long video, or when you're downloading a large file and want to be able to see it's progress. It is incredibly annoying having to swipe your finger across your Mac's trackpad every thirty seconds when the screen dims, so this article has been written to show you how to stop your Mac from falling asleep when you don't want it to.

The first way to stop your Mac from going to sleep by itself is obviously to turn off auto display-sleep in the system preferences. To do this open the system preferences, click on the "Energy saver" panel and drag the "Display sleep" slider all the way across to "never" (on the right-hand side).

Your Mac will now only go to sleep if you manually sleep it (or shut the lid if it's a laptop). And don't worry about the warning below the Display Sleep slider in the system preferences saying "Never letting your display go to sleep may shorten its life". Although the LEDs in your Mac's display will wear out eventually if used constantly, their incredibly long life (13+ years if used for 10 hrs per day in mild conditions) will far exceed the life of the rest of the computer. By the time their life comes to a close, your Mac will either be obsolete and useless to you, or one of the other components (that has a shorter life) would have already given out.

prevent macbook from falling asleep

While stopping your Mac's screen from turning off by disabling it in the system preferences is ideal for some, others may only want their Mac to not-go-to-sleep in certain situations, such as when they are watching a long video or keeping an eye on something. Having your Mac go to sleep when it hasn't been used for X amount of time is useful for various things, such as security and saving electricity. So: how does one let their Mac go to sleep by itself when they want it to, but not let it when they don't want it to? Answer: there's an app for that!

There is a free application available for Mac macOS (and OSX) called Caffeine.  Caffeine displays a coffee-cup icon in the top menu-bar that you can click on to stop your Mac from going to sleep. So, for example, if you start watching a long documentary on the Internet you could click on the coffee-cup icon and your Mac will not go to sleep by itself until you've clicked on it again to re-enable auto-sleeping.

Mike Roberts

Hi, my name is Mike and I made this site to document all the helpful tips and tricks that I've discovered using various Apple Macs and other Apple products over the years, as well as to provide more general guides in relation to using the internet. I've been obsessed with Apple products ever since I could afford my first iPod, and am somewhat of a fanboy (you might have guessed). For me, the simply work without any fuss, issues or errors. I can rely on their products. The build quality is excellent and I even have several, several-year-old Macbooks in my wardrobe that are still humming along fine (just a bit slower). You can contact me personally using the form on this page.


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  1. I've changed the system settings in the energy saver and my macbook air still shuts itself off after about 60

  2. Caffeine is an awesome app, one of the few that I recommend to anyone getting themselves a Mac. I actually just disable sleep permanently as I don’t find it useful. If I’m not using the machine, shutting it down completely is what I prefer. I think it’s prolongs the life of the Mac as well.

  3. I’ve heard mixed opinions about the sleep functionality on a MacBook and laptops in general. Is it okay to use it long term or is it more ideal to just switch the machine off? I use sleep sometimes when I know I’ll be using the machine again soon but otherwise, I switch it off. Caffeine sounds like a nice app too, it’s a pain having to swipe the touchpad to stop the screen turning off.

  4. Wow, what a lifesaver! I always use sleep on my MacBook but find it super annoying when it sleeps at times I don’t want it to. I was going to just disable sleep entirely but Caffeine sounds really useful so I’ll just use that instead. Thanks for the great tip!